The Best Online Drawing Classes of 2020

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

a woman using colored pencils in a sketchbook

Thanasis Zovoilis / Getty Images

Our Top Picks

Putting a pencil to paper to capture the world around us has inspired artists for millennia. If you’re interested in breaking out that sketchpad and pencil kit and immersing yourself in the medium—perhaps as a new creative outlet, a way to unwind, or to continue to sharpen your artistic craft—taking a drawing class at home is easier than ever.

Whether you're starting with the fundamentals, looking for a lighthearted cartoon tutorial, trying to master digital drawing tools, or something else, there's an online class out there for you. We’ve put together a list of the best online drawing classes to help you get started.

Best for Beginners: Getting Started With Drawing on Skillshare

Skillshare

Skillshare

Looking to get a grasp of the building blocks of drawing? This class from Brent Eviston—who studied at the Otis College of Art & Design in Los Angeles and has been teaching drawing for over 20 years—recasts drawing as a skill that everyone can learn, rather than a talent. The Basic Skills class is the first of his Art & Science of Drawing series on Skillshare and will teach you its foundational principles.

You can complete this course on your own time, and it's broken down into a simple cadence. Every day involves watching one of Eviston's video lessons that will teach you one essential drawing skill. At the conclusion of each lesson, you’ll receive an assignment designed to master the skill. Once you finish that project, you’ll be ready to move onto the next lesson level.

In this class, Eviston will teach you how to use the pencil like an artist, how to draw any shape, and how to analyze and thus draw any subject by distilling it into basic shapes. Once you finish this course, you can take Eviston's more advanced classes.

Best Variety: Udemy

Udemy

Udemy

Udemy is a massive hub for online learning, as it boasts more than 130,000 video courses—and new ones are added every month. Within that library is a wealth of classes devoted to the art of drawing.

You can choose from the straightforward Ultimate Drawing Course: Beginner to Advanced, which focuses on the fundamentals of objects, light, shadow, and figure drawing, or branch out to something a bit more specialized, like the Character Art School course (drawing for animations, comics, cartoons, games, and more), the Ultimate Animal Drawing course, Realistic Colored Pencil Portrait Drawing, or Anatomy for Figure Drawing.

There are also a number of courses devoted to learning how to draw via various computer programs, such as Drawing and Painting on the iPad with Procreate, the Complete Guide to Google Drawings, and Drawing and Painting in Adobe Fresco. And if you’re looking to try something more lighthearted and fun, try How to Draw Cute Cartoon Characters.

Best Perspective: How to Draw Perspective for Beginners on Skillshare

Skillshare

Skillshare

Perspective is tricky. By definition, it’s the technique used in drawing to represent three-dimensional images and objects on a two-dimensional picture plane like a sheet of paper or bristol board.

Professional artist and teacher Ethan Nguyen seeks to demystify the process with this Skillshare course, which is designed for those new to drawing perspective. To take this course, you only need basic materials: a mechanical pencil with 0.5mm lead, smooth bristol paper, and a pencil set. You’ll start with the basic concepts of perspective, including the horizon line, vanishing points, the picture plane, and all the methods of achieving depth in a drawing. Then, you’ll move onto the three most common types of perspective and their rules, including one-point, two-point, and three-point perspective.

You’ll learn how to draw each type of perspective with clear, easy-to-follow, step-by-step exercises and diagrams to give you a deeper understanding of the concept, culminating in a final project that has you draw a cityscape scene in three-point perspective.

Best Anatomy: Scott Eaton

Scott Eaton

 Scott Eaton

Rendering the human form is a skill many artists work hard to refine. London-based artist and educator Scott Eaton has an online course that offers a guide to the anatomy lessons of the old masters for those who want to perfect the intricacies of the human figure.

Artists from around the world and those working at companies such as Pixar, Warner Bros, Sony, and Disney have all taken Eaton's course. While the task at hand may be daunting, the instructor's approach is to cover the foundation that every artist who wants to learn the figure should know.

Eaton breaks down the curriculum as follows: Introduction, Proportions and the Skeleton; Chest, Shoulders, Abdomen; Upper and Lower Back; Upper Arms and Forearms; Pelvis, Upper and Lower Legs; Hands, Feet, and Neck; Gender, Age, Weight Variations; and a bonus lecture on animal anatomy. Each lesson is complete with a video lecture that ranges from two to two-and-a-half hours and is also complemented by drawing exercises to apply the knowledge just learned. Those exercises include visually dissecting old master drawings, sculptures from the Louvre Museum, and the works of Michaelangelo.

Best Portraiture: Vitruvian Studio

Vitruvian Studio

 Vitruvian Studio

Learn to draw lifelike portraits with this online Vitruvian Studio class. Teacher David Jamieson will guide you by offering comprehensive techniques for creating a finished portrait. You’ll receive five step-by-step modules after signing up, with each module containing multiple lessons. There are more than 10 hours of video content in total.

You’ll also receive downloadable PDF guides for each learning module and lifetime access to the course so you can take it at your own pace. Among the topics covered are details on drawing materials used; methods of measuring and sighting that will help you understand the proportions of your subject; how to capture subtle curvature easily and accurately; how to render natural-looking facial features and understanding major structural characteristics of the eyes, ears, nose, and mouth; and how to use value progressions to capture the effect of light and make a portrait appear three-dimensional.

If you’d like direct feedback on your in-progress work, you can choose a Critique Extension for an additional cost, which will get you four rounds of feedback.

Best Colored Pencil Drawing: London Art College

London Art College

 London Art College

If you’d like to incorporate color into your work with simple materials you may already have at home, a course that's specific to colored pencils—such as those offered by the London Art College—might be a good option.

The Colored Pencil Drawing Course is a certificate course designed to be taken over one year (though you can take up to two if you wish). Drawing from life and using graphite and colored pencils, this is an intensive course in which you’ll learn how to render the following: Pets, fur, and feathers; hair, eyes, and skin tones; fabric; trees; and shiny and metal objects. You’ll also get a crash course in creating tone, light and shade, weight of line, composition, shading, and mixing colors. You’ll also be able to upload your work to the school’s website for your tutor to critique.

Another course offered is in Botanical Colored Pencil drawing, which focuses on the anatomy of plants, what to look for in a subject, and how to bring it to life through your sketches. The course will dive deep into the details of light, shade, and color.

Best Landscape: Intro to Landscape on Paint Basket Art Classes

Paint Basket Art Classes

 Paint Basket Art Classes

Capture the beauty of your natural surroundings and put them on paper with this Paint Basket Intro to Landscape class. Taught by Dennis Clark, this course clocks in at 5 hours, 20 minutes, with high-definition video showing you how to execute each technique step-by-step.

Along with each lesson’s specific subject, plus a variety of sketches and exercises, you’ll learn how to master this popular genre, starting with the materials you’ll need to effectively draw landscapes and then moving into the basics you’ll need to master, such as how linear and atmospheric perspective work. Then, you’ll have individual lessons on how to draw trees, rocks and cliffs, water and rivers, buildings, clouds, and mountains.

Clark also focuses on skills to refine your drawing technique that lend themselves to the subject at hand, such as drawing trees quickly without having to draw every single leaf, creating distance in your landscape scenes, drawing from color references and creating depth in clouds, drawing mountains and rivers in the distance, and much more.

What Is an Online Drawing Class?

Online drawing classes teach you the art of drawing on paper using tools like pencils, pen, or ink. The classes spotlighted here address various disciplines of drawing, tackling the basics of line, form, and perspective, along with the mechanics of human anatomy, landscape drawing, and colored pencil drawing.

How Much Do Online Drawing Classes Cost?

The prices for online drawing classes vary. The Getting Started with Drawing and How to Draw Perspective for Beginners on Skillshare classes are accessible with the price of a Skillshare subscription ($19.99 per month for a regular membership) and are free with the site’s 14-day free trial, while classes on Udemy vary in cost but fall under $20. Classes from Vitruvian Studio, Scott Eaton, and the London Art College cost $150 or more, but those higher costs are measurable by the intensity of the class and expertise of the teacher and/or institution.

How We Chose the Best Online Drawing Classes

Drawing is an artistic medium where a variety of nuance, technique, and level of expertise is needed. Our goal was to represent myriad styles of specific disciplines (like anatomy and landscapes) while also providing recommendations of classes that cover the solid foundations you’ll need to develop drawing skills (such as classes for beginners on the basics of drawing and fundamental techniques like perspective). Brent Eviston’s Getting Started with Drawing and Ethan Nguyen’s How to Draw Perspective for Beginners, both available on Skillshare, ticked the boxes for introductory foundation courses. Scott Eaton’s Anatomy course and the London Art College’s colored pencil-specific classes offered niche opportunities for more experienced artists. Expertise was also key. We looked for classes from working artists and teachers and courses from accredited institutions who clearly have a sophisticated level of experience teaching drawing to students.

Continue to 5 of 7 below.